His mother always wanted him to be an All Black but shot put eventually eclipsed not just the country's No 1 sport but the myriad codes Tom Walsh was flirting with while growing up in South Canterbury.
"She always loved watching me play rugby and cricket, and she absolutely hates watching athletics because she feels she's not in control," says Walsh of his mother, Karen, of Christchurch.
"You just sit and watch me because I'm in control here," says the chuckling 25-year-old shot put world indoor and outdoor champion before competing at the annual Allan and Sylvia Potts Memorial Track and Field Classic in Hastings today.
But she and father Peter Walsh are loyal fans who will travel around the world to support their son although they won't be at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park for the classic today which doubles up as Gold Coast Commonwealth Games-qualifying meeting that has lured 160 competitors.
Needless to say, his father requires no interpretation or introduction because he won the New Zealand junior men's shot put title in the mid-1960s season and was a member of the South Canterbury Rugby team who lifted the Ranfurly Shield in 1974.
Just because Walsh has become world champion in front of a sellout Olympic Stadium in London last August during the IAAF World Championship, it doesn't mean his devoted parents are going to interfere with family protocol.
Elder brother Bill Walsh is playing cricket in Auckland this weekend so Karen and Peter will be dutifully parked somewhere near the boundary ropes cheering on their 27-year-old son.
Tom Walsh reconciles that simply by falling back to a childhood template where his parents instilled the value of adhering to a plan, no matter what.
"If something comes up and you agreed to do something for someone you've got to stick to the first thing you agreed to. You can't just keep chopping and changing because something else comes along so that's why they'll be staying with my brother."
That sort of single-mindedness, in many respects, is the epitome of what the Rio Olympics bronze medallist is all about.
Spurning the advances of popular codes, such as cricket, rugby and soccer, to persist with a relatively peripheral discipline of shot put in athletics isn't something he had to sweat on.
In London, Walsh had overcome an adductor strain and two protests from American silver medallist Joe Kovacs and beaten favourite Ryan Crouser, the American Olympic gold medallist, to step on to the podium to the tune of God Defend New Zealand on August 5 last year.
In doing so, the former Timaru Boys' High School student became New Zealand's third athletics world champion, all exponents of field events.
Discus queen Beatrice Faumuina was crowned world champion in Athens in 1997 while Dame Valerie Adams won four world shot put titles in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Walsh's six attempts of 21m-plus throws culminating in the winning distance of 22.03m propelled him into the history books in the first shot put competition where seven men chucked 21m.
Walsh's effort matches the third furthest winning throw in world championship history. Werner Gunthor holds the championship record of 22.23m established in 1987 and Reese Hoffa is next on 22.04m set in 2007.
Finding the protests unsettling because he only discovered he had won gold not long before the medal presentation Walsh laughs when asked if it has now sunk in that he is undisputed world champion.
"Some of it was taken away originally because we didn't have an answer on the protests for 24 hours and just before the medal ceremony.
"It was great to be called in at the time and now no one can take it off me. It did take a little bit away from it and I was slightly disappointed in the way it was done but it's all done now and I've still got the medal.
"It's still kind of cool when people say you're a world champion so it still sends shivers up my spine."
So how has the life of Walsh changed since that glowing moment?
"Not a lot, really. I guess just more people notice me, you know."
"People used to look at me and say, 'You must be a rugby player', but now more and more people are aware I'm a shot putter rather than a rugby player."
The seven-time national senior men's shot put champion is thankful to manager Scott Newman, of Auckland, for taking control of the publicity aspects of his career without taking away from his shot putting demands.
Mutating into someone or something else has never crossed his mind purely because of his down-to-earth Kiwi upbringing.
"I'll always be me no matter whether I'm talking to you or I'm on TV or talking to a group of school kids.
"I don't put on a different face or anything because this is me and 9 o'clock tomorrow morning I'm [back to my normal routine]."
A qualified builder, his vocation is on the back burner for now but he emphasises that played a pivotal role in paving the way to where he is now.
Sawing, plastering and hammering nails had a therapeutic effect on his life, offering him an escape from the rigours of the shot put circle.
"The boys on the building site don't want to hear about how well I'm going in the world and things like that. You know, they just want to talk about building or girls and cars or things they did that night."
But the building site isn't completely gone.
"I'm doing a lot of work now on my house. We've just moved in so I'm doing a lot of landscaping."
Playing a lot of golf with his coach, Dale Stevenson, a Christchurch-based Australian, and strength and conditioning mentors Angus Ross, of Cambridge, and John Wilson, of Christchurch, is the new therapy.
"When we're around the golf course, there's no talk about shot put or training or anything else like that because you're out there to take your mind off those things to do something else."
Walsh is now receiving a lot more requests from sponsors wanting him to assume the mantle of keynote speaker.
"I know I have to take care of business first, which is throw the shot put far as I can first and then I can enjoy all the other bits and pieces that come with it," he says, after banking $82,000 from the world championship bonus before taking into stride other commercial propositions.
He likes to think he's always had the gift of the gab, especially if he's talking about himself at the numerous speaking engagements.
"I just talk about myself, where I come from, my journey, what I'm trying to accomplish and how I got there."
While the media do a great job of getting his stories out there but they don't always cover his support crew or what he had to endure to reach the pinnacle of his sport.
"They report on the event I have just competed in or whatever but these things about where I come from and other bits and pieces [miss out]."
Walsh grew up in a farm north of Timaru as a member of a typical Kiwi nuclear family.
"I worked on the farm and as a kid growing up I played a lot of sport — rugby, cricket, hockey, soccer, croquet, athletics — so I played a lot of different sports.
"I don't think enough kids do that these days because I think they are made to specialise too early. I didn't specialise in shot put until I was 19."
Shotput became a front runner "because of a bloke called Jacko Gill" who was smashing every conceivable national and junior world records popping up.
"We went to the world juniors and I bombed out and he won," says Walsh, revealing the second-fiddle status only spurred him more to do well.
"I just said to myself I won't have this Jacko Gill have an easy run all the time."
The tit-for-tat rivalry with Gill, of Auckland, gathered intensity when Walsh made his international debut at the 2009 World Youth Championship where he finished sixth. The then teenagers had traded places with Gill almost always eclipsing Walsh's NZ Secondary School and national age-group records with 5kg and 6kg implements.
At the 2010 World Junior Championship Walsh had failed to qualify for the final as Gill went on to win.
But in 2012 Walsh won his first senior national crown which he retained the next season and added the discus title for good measure.
That sort of adrenalin rush in the world of beefy blokes marked the end of a promising cricketing career for Walsh.
"I was Jack of all trades and a master in none in cricket," he says with a laugh.
The seduction of the glare of global TV with the popular codes and the lucrative returns that come with it were something Walsh was always mindful of but certainly not distracted.
"You definitely don't get into shot put because you like the way you look. You go into shot put because you can throw it higher.
"I've had to put on about 30kg in the past few years so that's not very sexy, for sure."
That Eliza McCartney's infectious smile has turned not just pole vaulting into a sexy sport but put athletics in the limelight isn't lost on Walsh.
He yearns for a modicum of traction to lift the profile of shot put in the country, mindful that his global success would have rubbed off on youngsters around the country.
"This sounds weird because I look out for people who want to do it for New Zealand, whether it's Eliza McCartney, Tom Walsh, Valerie Adams, or Nick Willis in athletics so it's great to know kids are doing it in sport."
For Walsh 90 per cent of his meetings are abroad so to compete in New Zealand is special.
"We only throw six times and throw only takes half a second," he says although he's expecting the room temperature in his hotel to be adjusted to an ideal level in the sweltering Bay heat.
Potts classic organiser Richard Potts says the meeting, in memory of his parents, has enticed full fields in both men and women's 100m track events.
"Twenty-four athletes are racing in three heats for eight spots in the finals," says Potts, revealing pacemakers in both men and women's 800m will set the pace in pursuit of scorching times on a forecast 26C day that athletes will hope "some rain" won't push the humidity level too high and light wind will play its part.
The national 3000m under-20 championship for men and women also will be highlights.
Potts says fans again will only need to make a gold coin donation to Cancer Society of Hawke's Bay at the gate.
Walsh says it'll be his first competition of the year so he'll be a little rusty.
"Whether it's cricket, rugby or soccer you can be a little scratchy so it's the same with throws."
His preoccupation will be putting as much power as he can in a straight line through the shot put.
"You know, at times, I've been guilty of not getting all my power lined up and getting it through so that's a big one for me in trying to get back into my competition routine whether it's the technical side or the physical side and also feeling good after that as well."
Walsh's last meeting was in Brussels in September before he had a complete month's layoff.
He then resumed training, working on aspects of his throw, such as improving the trajectory of the metal ball, so now the time has arrived to make the crossover from the drills to competitions.
For Walsh returning home every September to find "normalcy" is something he relishes.
"You just enjoy life and not have to worry about having to go to training and stuff."
That hiatus becomes the ideal elixir for returning to the gym and coming off it rejuvenated for another campaign.
"It's to prove the point that I'm not just a one-hit wonder."
Having stability in his social life is paramount as well.
"I have got a lovely girlfriend, Dana, who keeps up with my travelling schedule which is all over the show so I'm a very lucky man to have my partner," he says of Dana Mulcahy who hails from Timaru but now lives with him in Christchurch.
For a bloke who derives mental fortitude from meditation, Walsh isn't shy to engage in banter, including taking on bets against Stevenson.
He lost his wager against his coach after coming up shy on a pledge of yielding a personal best and he had to put ink to blood on his 120kg, 1.85m frame.
"So the situation was it had to be visible to what we classified as barbecue attire, which was jandals, shorts and a singlet.
"It's on my right foot," he reveals.
And what is the tattoo of?
"It's a wee secret between Dale and me but maybe I'll show it to you at the weekend."
■ 2017: World Championship gold medal in London
■ 2016: Rio Olympics bronze medal
■ 2016: World Indoor Championship gold medal in Portland, United States
■ 2014: Commonwealth Games silver medal in Glasgow, Scotland
■ 2015: World Championship fourth in Beijing, China
■ 2014: World Indoor Championship bronze at Sopot, Poland
■ New Zealand: Winner of seven consecutive national senior men's crowns
■ Oceania: Indoor and outdoor record of 21.26m in 2014
■ Outdoor: 22.21m in Zagreb on September 5, 2016 (NZ record)
■ Indoor: 21.78m in Portland, United States, March 18, 2016